These days more and more people are reaching for an e-book for convenience and ease when it comes to their reading needs, but there are actually some extraordinary and scientific reasons to pick up a 'real' book and lose yourself, and a lot of those reasons are linked to health and wellbeing.
Firstly, and probably foremost, reading increases your intelligence. Remember Dr Seuss' old chestnut? - "the more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." Well, there is quite a lot of evidence to support that statement and according to a paper from the University of California, people that are exposed to higher amounts of vocabulary through literature and conversation have higher academic performance and higher IQ's in general.
Reading a 'real' book over a 'screen' book will also increase your reading speed by as much as 20-30% and a real book has been proven to engage memory more significantly than a screen book can because the physical act of turning a page offers your brain a tactile reference to the context which helps you to recall the information with more accuracy in the future. So if it's a reference or study book that you are reading then you should always opt for the real version over the e-book.
Reading works for your brain in the same way that jogging works for your cardiovascular system, and regular reading improves your brain's memory function, which helps to keep your mind sharper and your processing abilities honed. In turn, that reduces your chances of having lowered mental function and cognition as you get older. And it is now a well known fact that people that read, play chess and complete puzzles are up to 2.5 times less likely to get Alzheimer's disease than people who don't, which proves that reading is actually vital to maintaining excellent mental functions.
Reading has also been scientifically proven to improve empathy and an understanding of other people's mental states. Turns out that every time that you get 'lost' in a novel, that you are actually building up the skills in your brain that allow you to understand complex social relationships and the characteristics of human societies. Which basically means that reading makes you more emotionally intelligent in the long run.
On top of all that, reading also helps to reduce stress levels by up to 68% and reading before retiring in the evening has been proven to offer a more restful and sound sleep, but again it needs to be 'real' book and not a screen novel that you are reading, because looking at a screen before you go to sleep has the opposite effect.
If all of that hasn't convinced you that you need to read more often, than I don't know what will. Seriously, go and get a book and get reading, it is so good for you! And if you don't know what to read, well of course I have you covered there as well!
Here is a list of 20 of my all time favourite books (in no particular order) for you to get lost in if you need a good place to start:
- The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling (my fave book series of all time)
- Life of Pi by Yann Martel
- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
- Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
- Going Bovine by Libba Bray
- I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
- The Solitaire Mystery by Jostein Gaarder
- The Industry of Souls by Martin Booth
- Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
- Big Brother by Lionel Shriver
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
- Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice
- Crank by Ellen Hopkins
- Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
- The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud
- Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
- Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
- Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips
- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R Tolkien
1. THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING
2.THE TWO TOWERS
3. THE RETURN OF THE KING
Release Date: 2001, 2002 and 2003
Running Time: 558 minutes (theatrical) 681 mins (extended versions)
It was inevitable that LOTR was going to end up on my Hall of Fame list, it encompasses everything I adore about storytelling and cinema. Take a book written by J.R.R Tolkien and then let Peter Jackson direct it and create an epic fantasy trilogy using state of the art CGI and finally cast lots of sexy men in lead roles. Okay, you had me at Tolkien!
If you have been dead for the last decade, let me walk you through it. Set in the fictional and extremely magical world of Middle Earth, a group of delightful creatures called Hobbits are on a quest to return an extremely powerful and sinister ring back to where it was first forged so that the evil within it can finally be put to rest. Easier said than done really. Let me put it to you this way, there are three movies and they're all long.
But these are not just movies, they are sweeping sagas. They are made with great attention to every detail, making them completely enchanting. You are immersed into Middle Earth as you watch, these movies are so thrilling and action packed that you cannot help being swept away. All genres are crossed, there's a bevy of characters to sate everyone's tastes and the story is intelligent, imaginative and utterly captivating.
If you haven't seen these movies yet, do yourself a favour, the final instalment deservingly won 11 Oscars including best picture. Get on board, cheer for Frodo and Sam, scowl at Sauron, fall for Aragon, laugh with Gimli, be enchanted by Legolas and get some sound advice from Gandalf.
FINAL SAY: Fantasy perfection.
5 Chilli Peppers